Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development: A Handbook for Policymakers and Practitioners in Home and Host Countries

Governments at both ends of the migration cycle increasingly recognize the value of diasporas’ spontaneous engagements with their countries of origin and are seeking ways to cooperate with them. Beyond the remittances they send back to their homelands (more than USD 400 billion in 2010), diasporas are major direct investors in critical and emerging industries, known patrons of nascent tourism initiatives, and generous philanthropists. The question facing policymakers is not so much if diasporas can benefit their countries of origin, but how they do so and what kinds of government policies and programmes can foster these relationships.

Developing a Road Map for Engaging Diasporas in Development, a project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), offers policymakers and practitioners a user-friendly and practical guide on the state of the art in governmental diaspora initiatives. The handbook presents a carefully selected menu of viable policy and programme options based on actual experiences from around the world. The handbook, which draws from an original survey answered by 62 national governments as well as in-depth interviews with government officials and non-governmental actors, aims to highlight good practices, challenges, lessons learned, and promising cases that can be refined and adapted to suit local contexts. It also outlines a strategic “road map” for successful diaspora engagement; reviews the legal and institutional frameworks that governments have established to facilitate relations; and examines key areas in which diasporas have played positive roles in development: remittances, direct investment, human capital transfer, philanthropy, capital market investment, and tourism.

As more governments and stakeholders launch efforts to tap into the opportunities that diasporas represent, this handbook is the first and only comprehensive resource that presents a real-world strategy to smartly and successfully galvanize diaspora engagement.